Comparison of three types of treatment modalities on the outcome of fingertip injuries

Wiebren B van den Berg, Rob A Vergeer, Corry K van der Sluis, Henk-Jan Ten Duis, Paul M N Werker
Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 2012, 72 (6): 1681-7

BACKGROUND: In this retrospective study, we analyzed the outcomes of different types of treatment of fingertip injuries and compared them after a mean follow-up of 4.5 years.

METHODS: A total of 53 patients (59 injuries) were included in this study. The fingertip injuries were classified according to Allen classification. The patients were categorized into three groups based on the treatment: reconstructive group, bone-shortening group, and conservative group. As objective assessments, strength, sensibility, and goniometry were measured; as subjective assessments, cold intolerance, nail deformation, and aesthetics were measured.

RESULTS: The mean reduction in strength, the Semmes-Weinstein monofilament test, and the reduction in mobility for the injured fingers compared with those of the uninjured finger were not significantly different between the groups. Cold intolerance was reported in 50 (84.7%) of the 59 fingers, and in almost 90% of all the cases, there was some kind of nail distortion. For the cold intolerance and nail distortions, there was no difference between the groups. The aesthetic outcomes judged by patients and surgeon were comparable.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the outcome of treatment of Allen II, III, and IV fingertip injuries was irrespective of the treatment chosen. In an era where the enormous variety of surgical options suggests that treatment with a flap is the best, this outcome is at least surprising.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic study, level IV.


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